The Boston Celtics trampled the Phoenix Suns with a 20-2 burst at the beginning of the third period last night and then cruised home to a 105-90 triumph.
Boston led by only five at the half, but completely clamped down on the tense, poor-shooting Suns with a vicious defense in the third quarter. The Celtics scored 12 straight points to start the period, and after Phoenix rookie sensation Alvin Adams tipped in a shot, reeled off eight more to take a commanding lead.
By late in the quarter, Boston had built a 28-point bulge over the Suns, outscoring them 34-16 and outshooting them 57 per cent to 24 per cent for the period.
The Celtics made the final score respectable by missing 14 of their first 15 shots in the final stanza while Phoenix reeled off 14 straight points to pull within nine. But that was as close as they got; Boston kept things well in hand and won going away.
The victors were led by the ageless John Havlicek, who overcame a painful foot injury to lead the fast break and score 23 points. Charlie Scott added 16 against his former teammates, including 12 in the crucial third quarter, before fouling out with more than a period left to play. Dave Cowens added 16 in the winning cause.
Ex-Celtic Paul Westphal broke loose for 28 points for the losers, who have now bowed to the Celtics at Boston Garden 12 straight times over the last five years.